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Wuthering Bytes: the annual Hebden Bridge technology festival

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Wuthering Bytes, the leading community-driven open technology festival in the North, is to celebrate its third year when it opens to visitors later this month. From 26th September to 2nd October

Co-founded and organised by local technologists Andrew Back and Tim Harbour and hosted at the Hebden Bridge Town Hall, this year's Wuthering Bytes is the largest yet with a full week-long schedule.


Electronics Workshop at the 2014 Wuthering Bytes Festival

"The great thing about open source hardware and software is that it lowers the barrier to access to technology," co-founder Andrew Back told the HebWeb, stressing the event's focus on open source software, open hardware, and open data, "while also fostering a culture of sharing skills."

The week-long Wuthering Bytes festival, named for the Brontë novel inspired by the picturesque Top Withens in Haworth, begins with a day of talks organised by the national Open Source Hardware User Group on Saturday, 26th September, followed by hands-on workshops on the 27th where attendees can learn how to make their own 3D-printed digital microscope, use free software to create 3D models for printing, create low-cost Smart Home sensors, design their own circuit boards, how to solder, and more.

The British Computer Society's Open Source Specialist Group and the Open Source Consortium jointly host Monday 28th September's Open for Business day, which aims to aid interested parties with starting their own open-source business.

These are followed by three days hosted by Calderdale Council, beginning with Intelligent Towns on 29th September which includes a close look at the Internet of Things and the UK's Smart Cities initiative, and how both are set to transform Calderdale.

Tomorrow's People, on Wednesday, 30th of September, continues the future-gazing with a look at public service provision, and the Council's hosting ends on Thursday 1st October with a Make, Do, and Mend Technology Fair, a free event which includes a Restart Party where attendees can bring broken technology and learn how to repair it themselves.

The Wuthering Bytes schedule concludes with the Festival Day on Friday 2nd October, which features talks on subjects as varied as data and privacy to using CAT scanners and X-ray machines to read ancient scrolls. A particular highlight of this day is a discussion on the history of Calrec Audio, a highly successful local audio specialist dating back to the 1950s and best known for providing the hardware for Premier League football broadcasts.

Danielle GeorgeKey speakers at Wuthering Bytes Festival Day this year include:

  • Professor Danielle George, Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning at the University of Manchester, providing a keynote speech on the radio spectrum and radio-frequency engineering - pictured right.Amongst other things, Professor George presented the 2014 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures that were broadcast by the BBC.
  • Eva Pascoe, co-founder of Cybersalon.org and Cyberia, the world's first Internet CafĂ©, speaking on the risks posed by corporate data grabs
  • Stephen Jagger, former managing director of Hebden Bridge-based Calrec Audio, speaking on the company's incredible global success from its origins in the 1950s
  • David Mills, a scientist working on using CAT scanners and X-rays to read ancient scrolls and damaged audio and video tapes that would be destroyed using traditional viewing methods
  • Chris Thorpe, co-founder of publisher I Can Make and chief technology officer of Moshi Monsters, speaking on the educational uses of technologies including 3D scanners and printers

"The reception in previous years has been great," Andrew explains, "which can be attributed to the fact that we've had some pretty amazing people present and others running fantastic hands-on workshops. It was clearly an honour to have had the inventor of the ARM processor (Sophie Wilson) present at Wuthering Bytes last year, and that was some talk!

Sarah Angliss also gave an incredible talk that explored the pre-electric roots of electronic music, there was a live demo of a rocket engine, Ann Kilbey's talk on being a computer programmer in the early 1960s was also utterly captivating. And these were all on one day last year - there are too many to list!"

More information on the event can be found at www.wutheringbytes.com. Tickets are available now, priced at £10 per day including lunch. A brief schedule summary is reproduced below, for reference.

Saturday 26th September

Open Source Hardware Camp Talks

Sunday 27th September

Open Source Hardware Camp Workshops

Monday 28th September

Open for Business, hosted by the BCS Open Source Specialist Group and the Open Source Consortium

Tuesday 29th September

Intelligent Towns, hosted by Calderdale Council

Wednesday 30th September

Tomorrow's People, hosted by Calderdale Council

Thursday 1st October

Make, Do, and Mend Technology Fair, hosted by Calderdale Council

Friday 2nd October

Wuthering Bytes Festival Day

See also